Westminster service will commemorate Disability Act

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Westminster service will commemorate Disability Act

9th March 2011

Fentons Solicitors is proud to announce a special Thanksgiving Service will be held this month to mark the 40th anniversary of the first statute providing for the rights of the disabled and those with special needs. The introduction of the Act was the first time legislation had been enacted anywhere in the world to provide facilities for and prevent discrimination against those with special needs.

The Westminster Abbey service at 11am on Wednesday 30 March will commemorate key provisions of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 coming into force. Lord Morris of Manchester - then Alf Morris MP of Wythenshawe - introduced a Private Member's Bill on 5 December 1969, which was endorsed by the House of Commons and became an Act of Parliament in 1970.

Following the firm's work as Secretariat to the Archer Inquiry - which investigated how people contracted Hepatitis C as a result of receiving contaminated blood products in the 1970s and '80s - Lord Morris invited Fentons to organise the special event on his behalf. Senior partner Kieran Maguire said it was an honour to be associated with the service. "This legislation transformed the lives of millions of disabled people in the United Kingdom, and set a precedent that has been followed by many other countries throughout the world," said Kieran.

"The service will be used not only to commemorate the Act coming into force, but also the impact the legislation had in this country and its subsequent influence overseas. The Act had a major impact on the lives of disabled people, and provided a springboard for much of the legislation in force today," he said. "Lord Morris will give thanks for the efforts, over forty years, of all those across the world who have worked for people with long-term illnesses and disabilities."

The special service in Westminster Abbey will bring together a host of people, both disabled and non-disabled alike, who have witnessed the ground-breaking social progress the Act has achieved. Several will speak of its impact on their personal lives, including celebrated Paralympian athlete Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE.

The London Charity Orchestra will perform a work composed by Andrew March, and there will be a signed song by residents and staff from the Seashell Trust's Griffin Lodge and York House, including many who are deaf or blind or have profound communication problems.

All are welcome to attend the event, but admission is by ticket only. If you wish to apply for complimentary tickets, please write enclosing a SAE, to Mr T Platt, Room 30, The Chapter Office, 20 Dean's Yard, London, SW1P 3PA.